SYDNEY, 7 September, 2016 — A new interactive map released by 350.org Australia highlights the close relationship between our major political parties and the fossil fuel industry via political donations, which 350 says is a key contributor to inaction on climate change.
The map, showing donations from the fossil fuel industry to the major political parties, suggests a strong influence over climate change and energy policy decisions, with a spike in donations during election years, and a further spike when the debate around Australia’s carbon tax was at its peak.
“There is a clear link between policy decisions about the future of the coal, oil, and gas industry, and fossil fuel industry attempts to influence those decisions in its favour,” 350.org campaigner Isaac Astill said. “Crazily, our donation laws mean that we don’t get to know who donated what until long after the influence of the donation.”
“After the proposal of the carbon tax by the Rudd/Gillard Government, the amount of money donated from coal and gas companies to the major political parties dramatically increased, showing how political donations can influence climate change and fossil fuel policy decisions.
“Since the 2013 election, the fossil fuel industry has donated over $3.7 million to the major political parties. In return, this financial year alone, they can expect $7.7 billion back in the form of subsidies. That means for every $1 donated, they can expect $2000 back in Government handouts – an unheard of return on investment.”
“This week, the world’s two largest polluters — the US and China — ratified the Paris Climate Agreement. Meanwhile, our Federal Government has pushed back on states setting renewable energy targets, talked up the benefits of the gas industry, and again thrown their support behind one of the world’s largest coal projects in central Queensland.
“There is a disconnect between our politicians, the science, and the community on climate change. Unsurprisingly, there is a clear connection between donations from the fossil fuel industry and policy outcomes in their favour. We need to reform our donation laws so that Australia’s democracy is no longer dictated by the big polluters.
During the federal election, 350.org Australia ran a Pollution Free Politics campaign that called for an end to donations from and subsidies to fossil fuel companies, which was backed by 18 elected politicians including Labor, Greens, and independents.
Media contact: Isaac Astill 0428 849 332